As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence. It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam. This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started. Each one is 99 cents!
“Now, I will be watching from here and helping you through the earpiece,” Amarillo explains as they stand by the door. Peeking through the window, he watches Katie pace from one side of the private car to the other. “Mr. McHale gave this room to us for an hour, which should be more than enough time for you to display your romantic side. If all else fails, I think you may be able to get away with being serious. Remember to maintain eye contact, listen, ask questions, compliment her on more than her looks, and take every opportunity to be a gentleman. You didn’t do too well with the test, but I have faith that you’ll rise to the occasion.”
“That would make it hard for me to stand up,” Lloyd replies, hoping to get the jokes out of his system. Using a nearby mirror, he checks his teeth and adjusts his tie, which is still a constant source of unease. “Not sure how I got into this situation, but I’m up for the challenge. Today is the day I prove I’m more than a bloodthirsty monster and raving lunatic. Why do emotions and social interactions have to be so hard?”
“Because they require more effort and concentration than killing.”
“Tell that to a sniper.”
“Different type of concentration, but I see your point.”
“Well, here we go.”
Lloyd opens the door and steps into the room, which causes Katie to fix him with an expectant smirk. He is momentarily confused since she is already near the table and his first act was supposed to be escorting her to her seat. The approaching waiter yelps when he darts forward to claim the glasses of champagne and present them to the amused warlord. Guiding her to the nearest chair, Lloyd does his best to push Katie in as smoothly as possible, but is so focused on the bumpy carpet that he accidentally bangs her knuckles against the table. Doing the first thing that comes to mind, he takes her hands and gives them kisses, which causes her to smile. Proud of his recovery, the serial killer turns on his toes and is about to head for his own seat when he crashes into a dining cart. Flipping over the dolly, he manages to roll instead of landing flat on his back. The tearing of cloth makes him fear that he has split his pants, but he finds that one of his jacket sleeves has come off. With a sigh of defeat, he removes the ruined garment and chucks it behind the bar.
“That was oddly adorable, but not romantic,” Katie casually says while holding up her champagne. Instead of taking a drink, she tries to wind her arm around Lloyd’s and get the glass to her lips. “Relax your bloody arm, dear. Lean forward a bit because we have a size problem here. How do they do this so easily in the movies? Okay, this one is my fault. Just clink the glasses and take a drink.”
“That I can do,” the relieved man declares before putting a little too much force behind his movements. Both glasses crack at the stem and send the champagne spilling onto the table. “It’s like there’s a sadistic deity watching me and turning my life into a comedy. Always wanted it to be more of an action adventure. Hope this guy’s editor buries him in red ink. So . . . How’s the weather? Wait! That was the one I shouldn’t ask. Are you enjoying the trip, you beautiful goddess?”
“Kind of hurt that you didn’t say I was your beautiful goddess,” the warlord admits while she moves away from the dripping alcohol. She waits for the tablecloth to be replaced and smiles at the lit candles that are brought over. “Hope you don’t mind fire considering what just happened with your entrance. Just wouldn’t be romantic without it. I need to show that I can be sweet and lovey-dovey too. Anyway, this trip has been an experience. We’ve run into far too much trouble for me to fully relax. On the plus side, I made some deals that will bring new products to my territory. Never anything wrong with that. Are you glad to be here?”
Amarillo’s voice crackles over Lloyd’s earpiece as he whispers, “Talk about being with her and stare into her eyes.”
“Stare into her thighs?” the serial killer asks out loud.
“What about my thighs” Katie says, nearly spitting out the water she is drinking.
“I said eyes!”
“Well, there’s a lot of static,” Lloyd argues, unsure of who he should be talking to at the moment. Taking his girlfriend’s hands in his, he looks into her eyes and does his best to fight back a sneeze. “Sorry about that. My teacher failed his anatomy class. Not that you don’t have nice thighs, but your eyes are prettier to stare at. That sounded more romantic in my head. You know, I’m really enjoying this trip since we get to spend time together. Although, it feels like we entered a horrific rom-com section that better not go any further than this chapter. Probably should have kept that part to myself. What do you think of the local sports team and their current record, which is another question that was on the do not ask list? Really should have memorized the do’s instead of the do not’s.”
To Lloyd’s relief, Amarillo walks into the room with a squeaky dining cart and delivers the meal. The serial killer tries not to drool at the sight of Cornish hens, small potatoes, and crispy asparagus. He feels a small pressure on his foot and looks down to find that the other man is gently stepping on his toes. It takes him a second to realize it is a signal for him to pull the flower out of his sleeve and present it to Katie. Having chosen a rose, Lloyd attempts to present it in one fluid movement before a series of sharp pains runs along his arm. With a nervous smile, he finishes revealing the plant, which has left half of its thorns in his flesh. The warlord still takes the rose, but is careful not to touch the blood-covered parts. Dropping a box of colorful bandages on the table, Amarillo sighs and heads for the bar to mix some drinks.
“Let me help with that,” Katie says as she takes the box. Once Lloyd rolls up his sleeve, she careful takes out the eight thorns and puts a bandage on each wound. “We’ll have to put some ointment on it later. Don’t want you to get an infection and lose your stabbing arm. Thanks for trying though. Guess romance isn’t in your nature.”
“I’m only inexperienced, so I can get this with enough practice,” Lloyd argues as he skewers one of his girlfriend’s potatoes. He pops it into her open mouth, but she quickly spits the hot food back onto her plate. “I should get some credit for trying. Why is it so important for you to be wooed when we’ve been together for nearly two years?”
“Yes . . . We . . . Carry the one . . . Divide by ninety . . . Continue stalling . . . Oh, shit.”
“That isn’t it since I forgot until I checked my planner this morning.”
“Okay, let’s try this again.”
Taking a potato from his own plate, he blows on it until he is sure it can be eaten and offers it to Katie. She nervously accepts the food and is happy that she does not make the numbness of her tongue any worse. Lloyd puts a napkin on his lap and sits up straight in an attempt to seem more dignified, but it only manages to aggravate his injured ribs. Slouching in defeat, he tries to think of something else to do for Katie while cutting open his entrée. He finds it difficult to get through the ribs and puts as much pressure as he can into pushing the knife down. To his horror, a jet of juice shoots across the table and hits his girlfriend in the chin. Grabbing his napkin, he leans over to clean her face when he puts his hand in her food and slips forward. The savory meals hit Katie’s chest and lap as Lloyd practically palm strikes her in the face. The couple crash to the floor, which causes the shotgun under the warlord’s layered skirts to go off and destroy the dress. The blast breaks the table and puts a hole in the bar, the deadly projectiles narrowly missing Amarillo. Terrified that Katie has gotten hurt, Lloyd checks her legs and ends up tearing off the rest of her beautiful dress. Left in her purple and black lingerie, the warlord gradually gets to her feet and wipes some asparagus off her arm.
“This was a mistake,” she says without looking at Lloyd. Holding up her ruined dress, she tosses it onto the remains of the table and heads for the door. “Let’s forget we even tried this, Lloyd. Good night to both of you.”